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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Villa play down stadium renaming
Villa Park is set to be renamed
Aston Villa have played at Villa Park since 1897
Aston Villa have denied that new owner Randy Lerner plans to sell the naming rights to their Villa Park stadium.

The club have issued a statement saying there is no foundation to this suggestion and that they will preserve the history of the club.

"There is no truth to the rumour," said Villa spokesman Phil Mepham. "The board has plans for the future but these will preserve the history of the club."

Villa's statement, however, contradicts information given to BBC WM.

A source close to Lerner revealed that the American billionaire is looking to auction the rights as part of his future plans for the club.

Reports of a figure of 120m have been dismissed but the deal could run into tens of millions of pounds.

Local Birmingham firm Cadbury are definitely not in the running.

606: DEBATE
XH

Mepham added: "There are no discussions regarding the naming rights of the stadium.

"Any future commercial activity will retain the brand and tradition that has been synonymous with the club throughout three centuries."

Lerner was installed as Villa's new chairman on 19 September, taking over from Doug Ellis in the Villa Park hotseat.

The 44-year-old owner of American football team the Cleveland Browns is keen to raise funds to allow Villa to compete at the highest level.

Lerner is keen to tie up a 100m sponsorship deal by Christmas, to give manager Martin O'Neill further funds to sign players when the transfer window re-opens in January.

SEE ALSO
Lerner set to complete Villa deal
27 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
End of Ellis era
19 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
Lerner closer to control of Villa
05 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
Learning about Lerner
05 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa


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